who were responsible for implementing downsizing efforts exhibited depressive symptoms themselves, much the same as has been observed among victims and survivors. These results are consistent with a 1996 American Management Association Survey that found that job elimination was associated with increased disability claims. The increase in claims was greatest for categories reflective of stress (e.g., mental or psychiatric problems and substance abuse as well as hypertension and cardiovascular disease).
Changes in organizational structure and systems can affect employees’ well-being. These effects may be the result of job insecurity, lack of training, or stress and other psychological factors. Occupational safety and health personnel need to be aware of organizational and work design constructs and how they may be affecting employees’ health and safety. In addition, occupational safety and health personnel themselves are not immune to job elimination or being assigned to self-managed work teams. Therefore, they need to be skilled in working within multidisciplinary teams and have a core competency in business process, finance, planning, and management.
Social, economic, and demographic changes in the United States have increased the difficulty and complexity of balancing work demands or aspirations and home life. The aging population and increased life expectancy have contributed to the prominence of caregiving among employed persons. The U.S. Department of Labor has reported that two of three caregivers, involving 5.6 million households, were employed in 1996 (U.S. Department of Labor, 1999a). Furthermore, it is estimated that elder care will involve 42 percent of all workers by 2002 (Galinsky and Bond, 1998). Parenting is challenged by the economic necessity for dual-income households (the proportion of households in which both members of the couple work rose from 39 to 69 percent between 1970 and 1998) (U.S. Department of Labor, 1999a). Time demands for women have been exacerbated by the rise in the number of single-parent families since 1970 (11 to 27 percent), the significant increase in the proportion of mothers in the workforce (47 percent in 1975 versus 72 percent in 1998) (U.S. Department of Labor, 1999a), and the rise in the number of women holding multiple jobs (Amirault, 1997; Stinson, 1997).
Progressive employers and those in competition for particular skills